The jittery titles sequence and grim opening scenes of "Disappeared" suggest a tight thriller or perhaps even a dark, twisted horror ahead. Alas, we instead get a too-dry go-nowhere drama that's heavy on mood but not much else.
"Disappeared" originally aired on British television in 2004 under the only slightly less generic title "She's Gone." The film takes a page or three from "Hardcore" and "Missing," among many others: dutiful father Ray Winstone journeys to Istanbul to find his daughter, who went missing days earlier, only to discover she had been working as a stripper and may have been kidnapped by an admirer whom the British embassy is keen on defending.
While competently made and sharply acted throughout (Winstone delivers a tight, angry performance), the film is rather uninteresting. There's too little in terms of mystery or danger. Director Adrian Shergold and scripter Simon Tyrrell try their best to make Turkey a land of paranoia and doom, but when most of the plot is reduced to people sitting around rooms talking about stuff, the suspense evaporates pretty darn quickly. Efforts to pad the story with political intrigue (the search coincides with several bombings around town) only serve as a further drag.
Which is a shame, because the characters are, for the most part, fascinating people, especially Winstone's role, who gets portrayed not as a hero but an angry, often racist, dreary sort. This allows the film a greater depth than one with a do-gooder leading man, yet there's not enough done to make good use of such a choice. The script often just has him yell at people, or people yell at him, and that's as far as anything gets.
Too little is also done with the multiple revelations about the daughter. The father's investigations seem to be leading to something more, yet that something never fully arrives. And when we do reach our grand finale, it's such an out-of-left-field arrival that it hardly seems to even count.
Video & Audio
"Disappeared" seems to have been shot on both video and film. The video footage reveals plenty of grain in darker, nighttime scenes but is otherwise crisp and clean; the film footage (mostly outdoor shots) looks decent, if also grainy. The grain seems to enhance the gritty feel of the picture, so it's no distraction.
The soundtrack is offered in both Dolby 5.1 and 2.0. Both are serviceable tracks, subdued enough that you won't really tell them apart too much. English and Spanish subtitles are provided.
Just the DVD previews for "Disappeared" and three other First Look releases.
Despite a fine cast, "Disappeared" just sits there like a lump, waiting for something thrilling to happen. It never does. Skip It.